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Puertollano or bust: Can the breakaways out-fox the sprinters?
Proycling's Analysis: A transition day between the mountains in the south and race’s final climbs. Two third-cat climbs early on – the Villares and Chimorra – will give riders out of contention the chance to get clear.
Culture Vulture: Puertollano is known in Spain as ‘the town of two lies’. It’s neither a port (puerto), nor flat (llano). Puerto can also mean ‘pass’, giving a better clue to the nature of the area. In the past, Puertollano was a mining centre but it’s now known for producing solar panels.
Local hero: This is a remote part of Spain where people, let alone top-class cyclists, are thin on the ground. Former Liberty Seguros and Astana rider José Antonio Redondo is the biggest Local name.
Vuelta Retro: Colombian Leonardo Duque won the last time the Vuelta raced into Puertollano, which was only two years ago.
Neil Stephens says: Looking at it from the point of view of someone who works with a national team, this is the sort of block where everyone has a big hit out and then heads home. As a result you're going to see some bloody good racing at this point. It's going to be a breakaway-type day and the sprinter with the strongest team is going to make a difference. If heaps of the guys have gone home then you've got to start to think, 'Well how strong are the sprinters...?' then work it out from there.